The Dubai airline Emirates is to fly deeper into Russia than ever before with the announcement of new services to the northern city of St Petersburg, which will become the most northerly destination on their itinerary.
The service to the city that is sometimes known as the “Northern Capital” of Russia will begin from November 1 with daily direct flights from Dubai.
Emirates will employ a combination of Airbus A330-200s and A340-300s to ply the route, with economy, first and business class travel on offer. The first flight, EK 137 will depart from Dubai at 1035, landing in St Petersburg at 1615 in the afternoon. The return flight from St Petersburg back to Dubai leaves at 1745, arriving in Dubai at 0035 the day after.
The Dubai-based airline already operates a twice daily service to Moscow, a route it has been running since 2003.
“There is huge potential for Russia, and this has been demonstrated by the massive success of our Moscow flights. We think there will be equal demand for St Petersburg,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, Emirates Airlines’ chairman.
“The non-stop service to St Petersburg has been on the back-burner for some time, and we now believe that the timing is just right to begin. St Petersburg is a city that sees thousands of tourists arrive each year because of its wonderful architecture, its arts and history, and its cruises.”
St Petersburg is Russia’s second largest city after the capital, with an estimated 4.6 million population. However, it’s expected that most passengers on the new route will be tourists, though this is expected to be boosted by workers in the oil and manufacturing industries, as well as expats in the city.
Dubai and the UAE are also top destinations for Russians themselves, with thousands of tourists arriving there each year, as well as investors and businessmen. Hundreds more have made the city there home, and the new service is likely to satisfy their demand too. The service is also expected to be a link to popular Asian destinations as well.
Emirates SkyCargo will also be able to take advantage of the new flights, offering more options to its market. They have said that a diverse new range of commodities, including automotive parts, electronics, garments, pharmaceuticals and flowers will be imported to St Petersburg, mostly arriving from Asian markets such as India, China, Japan and Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, Russian products, which include spare parts for shipping, aircraft and power stations will be moving in the other direction, to countries like Japan, China, Vietnam, Angola and India.